PAST PRESIDENT PROFILE
The Power of Many
It is such a clear memory. Jamie and I had bought the Second-Empire schoolhouse three years earlier, in 1998. This property in Osceola Ontario came with almost two acres of land on which we immediately started building gardens. It was early Saturday morning at the beginning of June 2001 and we were doing the rounds of garage sales, as we were wont to do way back then. CBC Ottawa’s flagship weekend show, In Town and Out, was playing. The host introduced a woman called Mary Pratte who was there to promote a peony show at Rideau Hall, June 16th and 17th. As we listened, her enthusiasm for peonies really captured our attention. Jamie turned and said – “Now there is a plant we could collect as showpieces throughout our gardens.” And so, the bug was caught.
PEONY OF THE MONTH
If you were fortunate enough to attend a presentation by John Simkins in the 1990s to early 2000s, you had an opportunity to purchase some of his small potted peony seedlings ($1 or $2 mystery plants). We purchased a tree peony seedling at a local horticultural meeting and some of our friends also bought seedlings at a show at the Royal Botanical Garden in Hamilton. As Joe and I began giving presentations, we often saw flower shows with impressive peonies, results of John’s hybridizing. Some gardeners shared roots of their plants so we could evaluate them in our growing conditions.
BLOSSOM HILL NURSERY
Joe and Hazel Cook with their daughter Amy
are well known for their family business, Blossom Hill Nursery located near Peterborough. It was established in 1994, specializing in the hybridization and propagation of British Delphinium elatum. A second passion resulted in an extensive peony collection of over 650 varieties including species, tree, herbaceous and intersectional peonies. The Cooks are hybridizing and propagating the peonies, including grafting 100 varieties of tree peonies.
Who We Are
We are a Society dedicated to the growth and development of Peonies. We are always looking for new members and enthusiasts to join the Society, so join us and come and share your passion!
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